This category contains 19 posts

Velocir’s Albin Vega Sail Design

A long winded discourse on our sails and why we chose them.

Small sails, big sails, old sails, new sails, high tech sails, old school sails, cheap sails, expensive sails and the sails that came with our boat fit into the cheap and old categories. I worked for 2 years at Bacon Sails and Marine Supplies in Annapolis, Maryland. Around since the 1950’s, Bacons is a family-owned consignment and new marine gear shop that specializes in used sails; and more recently new ones. My job title: “Sail Inspector”. Although the job came with neither badge nor magnifying glass I learned more than I ever thought you could know about sails.

Velocir's Albin Vega Sail Design

Sails are like a dress for your boat, you want a dress to look good and fit well. There are also about as many possibilities for a dress as there are for sails. I had seen so many designs and materials I wanted to put the lessons and my newfound knowledge to work; and with my employee discount I could!

I could have gone with a classic cross cut dacron sail, the kind you see on 90% of sailboats, but if we are building sails for our boat I want the best I can get.( FYI Dacron is a brand name like Band-Aid or Kleenex) Time after time I kept seeing these old sails come in just beat to hell and still holding together and with more shape than any Dacron sail its age. Cruise Laminate is, as the name says, a laminate, but not the plastic material (mylar) you see on race boats. Cruise Laminate is most commonly made up of  two layers of Dacron sandwiched over a grid of a white string looking material called pentex, the grid of pentex  provides a rigid strength far superior to Dacron alone.

Velocir's Albin Vega Sail Design

Sun is a sails number one enemy, Dacron will turn yellow and become extremely brittle, its called “sun rot”. Cruise laminate will not only hold its shape better, be stronger per weight of cloth compared to its Dacron counterpart, but will last longer. I have seen sails where the Dacron has completely rotted away in sections, but was held together by the pentex. Cruise Laminate has its own problems too. Older versions of the cloth were notorious for having the laminate separate which ruins the sail and all Cruise Laminates are susceptible to having mold and mildew grow inside the laminate and spread throughout. The mildew is merely a cosmetic issue, the whole sail can turn black and be fine and the cloth is now made with anti-mildew chemicals in it, but it is a problem.

     So we decided the positives outweighed the negatives and went with a 7oz (weight of the cloth) genoa and an 8oz main in Cruise Laminate. The sails were all stitched with a strong triple throw style stitching with Tenara thread. Sail thread is a frequent weakness in sails, often if the Dacron survives into old age the thread will rot and usually on the leach of the sail (trailing edge of the sail). Suncovers on rollerfurling genoas often need to be restitched several times in their lives.Tenara is a Goretex based thread which is sun stable, ie does not sunrot. Our suncovers and our entire sails were stitched with this thread and our leach is a heavier weight of Dacron so it will last longer.

     Most sails are horizontal bands on Dacron stitched together, called “crosscut”; strong a simple. Our sails are known as “tri-radial”, the panels of cloth radiate out from the three corners of the sail. The reason for this is that the sails can be designed with a 3-d shape cut into them, computers design the shape and tell you how to cut the panels and assemble the sail. The sails definitely improved our pointing. For most cruising boats the cost-benefit ratio of this style is generally not worth it, but for us it was negligible.

Velocir's Albin Vega Sail Design

     Our main sail is loose footed, which means the bottom or “foot” of the sail is only connected at the tack and clew. This gives the bottom of the sail a cleaner shape and the ability to have a line inside the foot to adjust for shape. Sails traditionally had the foot slide into the boom or had little slides to attach it. The general consensus is the materials of today make the sail and boom strong enough it is not necessary to distribute its load along the boom like that.

     Battens, oh the great batten debate. Battens are the (generally fiberglass) sticks in the sail that help give it a good rigid shape. Many cruisers will go with fully battened sails, which means the battens run the full width of the sail. This gives the sail a flatter shape and a generally good trim in all points of sail, but on the other hand mean you can’t adjust the sail shape much, they can be somewhat of a bear to wrangle when flaking or reefing, and really load up pressure on the mast side which can lead to problems when gear weakens over time.

Velocir's Albin Vega Sail Design

I love to fuss with sails, I enjoy tweaking things here and there as we sail along, it’s a game, it gives me an activity as we sail. So I went with what is called a “powerhead” setup. The top two battens are full while the bottom two battens are standard (ie go about 1/4-1/3 in from the leach). This means I get some of the plusses of full battens, but the body of the sail can still get some belly to it with some adjusting. We also got batten keepers that were lashed shut, not velcroed. Velcro will go bad faster than anything else on the sail and really how often are you taking out your battens that you need the speed of Velcro.

We went with two reef points rather than the classic cruiser three. Our reef points each take away 33% of the sail area, so they are quite deep. On our Bahamas trip we thankfully never had to use the second reef. The reason for this was less weight hanging in the sail which would hurt us in light air and less gear to lead back, in such a small boat the reinforcements in the sail and the lines hanging on it can make a big difference.

      Again, sails are like a dress, they should be a good fit and ideally a tailored fit. We measured everything 3 times over and altered the measurements from our old sails. We took about a foot off of the leach of the main sail so the boom would be just over head level in the cockpit. We made our genoa on the smaller side, 130% so we could roller reef and get good shape, in beam reaches or below we would fly the asymmetrical spinnaker, so we would only miss a big genoa head upwind in light airs. More often than not on our trip the genoa had at least a little reefing in it. We also had the genoa cut a little higher so we could see under it better from the cockpit.

     The leach line for the mainsail was run overhead through a turning block at the top of the sail (head) down to adjust at the tack. Now we could adjust the leach shape at the mast rather than trying to get to it out on the end of the boom since when I want to adjust it is when we are reaching or on a run. After using the sails for a year I have decided while this is good in theory, this setup has too much friction in a sail this small. It worked, but not as well as I would have liked.

Velocir's Albin Vega Sail Design

      Along the luff of every good roller furling genoa is some sort of padding, usually foam or rope. The reason for this is that when the sail is on a roller furler it can only reef so far before the sail becomes really baggy, which you really want a flat sail when reefing. Padding at the front of the sail helps bulk up the first few turns to give a flatter reef. Foam is the cheaper option, but over time will compact and stay that way. So we had 3 pieces of polypropylene rope in descending lengths on our luff.

       Again and again I saw shortcuts and problems with the design of suncovers on roller furling genoas. Firstly, unless you are racing, I think Sunbrella should be used for suncovers. Yes they weigh more than other options, but they last 3 times longer than other options and are easily replaced. Adhesive sun treated Dacron doesn’t work well and its remnants will look awful on the sail. I have also frequently seen a shiny mylar material that is also terrible. There is a vinyl like material that works ok, but is only slightly cheaper than Sunbrella and Sunbrella works so much better!

    Also make sure if your genoa has new suncovers put on that they wrap the suncover all the way around the edges of the sail. Often for cheapness or laziness the suncovers will be folded under themselves leaving the leach and foot tabling of the sail exposed to the sun. Though it may look like it will be fine, they will rot and your leaching will catch on the spreaders and tear it to pieces, happens all the time.

    Draft stripes, often a dark line of Dacron across the middle of the sail help you see the shape of your sails and are quite useful on bright days looking at a white triangle. We also found a product called Glofast which makes adhesive Dacron for draft stripes and whipping line that GLOWS in the dark. We have 2 glowing draft stripes on the main that really helped us see our sails and their shape on dark nights. The stuff will last the entire night and they are bright! It is comforting to see the sails with such ease on a dark night especially dead down wind, it helped us see the luff bubbling warning us of a possible accidental jibe.

Velocir's Albin Vega Sail Design

   My final piece of unsolicited advice is to protect your sails from the sun. Put the cover on the main sail, zip up your stack pack, and make sure the sail is totally covered. The biggest thing though is to take your sails down when you are not using them! If you are not using the boat in the winter take off the sails. Though they are covered, the sun will still get to them. If you hang up your boats dress and take care of it, they will last so much longer. Sails on a SAILboat are expensive and often neglected.

Velocir's Albin Vega Sail Design

Spinnakers! Light air and down wind nothing beats a spinnaker. Huge area of sail and made with material 1/6th of the weight of your normal sails. Cruisers today love asymmetrical spinnakers, aka gennaker, aka cruising chute. Similar to a traditional spinnaker, but with no spinnaker pole to deal with, fewer control lines, and easier to jibe. Mostly they come in 0.75oz or 1.5oz rip-stop nylon. Usually boats over 40ft will use 1.5oz, but we found a good deal on a used 1.5oz asymmetrical at Bacon Sails. We love everything to be stronger than is necessary and we had some fun flying our heavy duty spinnaker in over 25kts.

Velocir's Albin Vega Sail Design

Spinnakers are often used today with a snuffer, aka sock, aka spinnaker condom. A snuffer is a tube with a rigid mouth and a body of lightweight material used to help set and douse the sail. They make handling a spinnaker so much easier. They can be expensive, but we made our own without too much hassle and never had a problem with it. The two main types are chute scoop (budget) and ATN (Expensive French now made in China, but decent quality still).

Part of using an asymmetrical spinnaker is having a tack line. Asym’s are awesome because they can be sailed from a beam reach on down. Part of this is adjusting the tension of the luff with a tack line. Asym’s are meant to be flown in front of the boat, great for bow sprits but not so great for us production boats where the bow pulpit is the most forward thing of the boat. Our bow pulpit is well attached so we welded a ring on its front and ran the tackline back from that.

Velocir's Albin Vega Sail Design

Another piece of Asym gear on a common production boat is something to keep the tack of the sail in. When on a run you loosen up the tack line, so the sail wants to slide out sideways usually putting the tackline’s tension on the top of the bow pulpit, which can chafe it or when the sail luffs hard bend the pulpit. So many people will use something attached to the tack of the sail that goes around the roller furler. This allows the sail to slide up and down the furled sail as you adjust the tack line tension, keeping the asym in the center of the boat. ATN sells its “tacker” which does this quite well, though I have been on a boat with a tacker with a cheap shackle that kept failing. We have a piece of wire with two eyes and plastic beads (perroll beads) in the middle that roll up and down. The tacker seems to work best, but they are unnecessarily expensive (so what else is new with boats).

So, that’s all the big stuff I learned working on sails for 2 years and how it translated itself onto our boat. I hope this hasn’t been too long winded and can help somebody. Some will disagree with my opinions and observations, but people agree on sails about as much as anchors.


Lake Worth Weather Window!!!

We have found our weather window from Lake Worth to the Bahamas and plan to leave tonight at 2 am!  From now on, we will continue to update our blog when possible and will always do the SPOT when in a new place.PC140586

We thought it would take a week, possibly weeks, to find an acceptable weather window over to the Bahamas.  This is because in the winter months the wind comes more from the North, and then opposes the Gulf Stream current from the South causing large waves the “stand up” and be higher and rougher.  Luckily, we have been watching the weather and a good window is happening right when we’ve made it to the inlet we will leave from.


As we’ve travel farther south into Florida the houses and boats keep getting bigger.  Endless lines of houses, each worth millions!  Amelia said, “If we had millions of dollars I think we would be doing exactly what we are doing.  Maybe just a little bit nicer.”  Then Grant made the point of how lucky we are to honestly say this is what we would be doing if we could do anything right now.


While we were sailing down to Jupiter we got an airshow from an aerial applicator really close to us.


From St. Augustine, FL to Lake Worth, FL we only used 4 gallons of fuel.  This means we sailed roughly 260 miles on the ICW straight!


Before leaving for Florida, we have taken one last trip to the grocery store.  I found some tofu packets I was happy with.  They will be a nice way to change up meals.  Hopefully we will catch enough fresh seafood we won’t need to use our stored goods!


As a treat, I wanted to roast some Chestnuts.  It was really messy!  Reading online, it said cutting X’s on them and then boiling them for 25 minutes would keep the chestnuts more moist than baking them.  Peeling them was easy with some and difficult with others.  They were good though!

Happy Holidays!

Family, Friends and Projects

Last week was spent visiting family and friends in Beaufort, SC.  A little vacation from blogging and cruising, a lot of great seafood and a cute little town.  We even drove in a car to Savannah, GA for the day- very exciting and a beautiful place!

While there we heard about and are going to join the OCC. Our friends in Beaufort, SC are Port Officers for The Ocean Cruising Club, a group originated in the UK, with members from around the world.  We had not heard about it before but it sounds like a great way to meet other cruisers and Port Officers in 46 different countries will “host” other members by giving them knowledge of their area.  In order to join you need at least 1000 miles offshore non-stop in a boat under 70 feet.  Fortunately, last year we helped some friends sail their boat from the Bahamas to Newport, RI non-stop, so now (if we are accepted) we can be a part of this group!

While there, we also completed two Albin Vega projects we had been looking forward to.

  Nature's Head in Albin Vega Velocir

The first: installing a new composting head.  We had not been happy with our previous composting head. It had many problems including leaking (TMI?).  Anyway, we have gone with a Nature’s Head that just fits barely in our head (bathroom) area.  After about a week we are very happy and thrilled with it.  No smell, easier to use and no leaks.  We got it from Bacon Sails in Annapolis, who is now a dealer.

The second: installing a soft water tank forward.  We have the original Albin Vega water tank that is 30 gallons plastic in the forward v-berth section. Before we left, we installed a 20 gallon plastic square tank under the cockpit hatch on the starboard side forward.  With the amount of weight we have in the aft, the cockpit drains fill into the cockpit rather easily.  On one off-shore passage we had water leak down into the main cabin along the lower trim tabs and pool, swashing around and unable to make it to the drainage area near the batteries.  We had resealed the cockpit floor hatch.  Now, to lessen weight aft and move it forward, we have taken a 40 gallon (not filled all the way) Plastimo soft water tank and installed it also under the v-berth just behind the other tank, and emptied our original secondary tank.  The weight is a little bit better but not by a lot.  We now have more water storage though with three tanks!  (still unsure where to store what was previously in that storage area)

Vega Modifications: An Update

In the midst of finishing projects and leaving on our trip, we didn’t find the time to write about all of our modifications.  Here is a medley to update our blog.

Albin Vega Velocir Dodger Modification

The completed dodger, with an isinglass and sunbrella shield.  We are very happy with how this came together and it is working well.

After building and attaching the frame (see previous post), I bolted a sail tape track to the inner forward top of the starboard (see acorn nuts every 3-4 inches).

Then, using a consigned piece of isinglass from Bacon Sails in Annapolis, I measured the pattern.  To do this I ran my sail tape through the track.  Then, holding the isinglass up to the top I traced the upper curve.  I thought this would be a practice piece to use to form a better fit, but it ended up being just the right size.  The bottom was already sewed in a straight line on the bottom with white sunbrella.

I cut my curve into the top of the isinglass and sewed on the sail tape, along with a 2-3” trim piece of sunbrella to protect the dacron sail tape that is more vulnerable to sun rot.  (Later, I put brass snaps in the trim piece and sewed a cover that can snap on to prevent long-term sun damage.)

The bottom is attached using shock cord.  We had seen this on another Vega we met in Bermuda on their way home to Denmark and thought it made a lot of sense given the shape of the Vega’s spray guard.  I sewed the shock cord into a sunbrella pocket on the bottom.  To hold it onto the boat it runs along the hatch cover lip in the middle, then extends outward on the wood spray guards.  I turned the wood spray guard pieces around so that they would give more of a lip for the shock cord to grab onto.

The shock cord is clipped off to our dodger.  It is very secure, but I can punch it out.  This is good because if a big wave came it wouldn’t strain the dodger, just pop out.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

I also sewed together a bug screen for the companionway.  We used this really thick and stiff screen material.  I think it is normally used under cushions for circulation?  Well, it keeps the bugs out really well but was hard to sew and is mildly annoying to crawl in and out of.  Apart from that, we really like the overall design and how we attached it to the boat.

On the bottom and sides (where the blue sunbrella is) Grant shaped a metal frame to go into the sliders.  This gives it a good seal, secures it in place and makes it easy to put in place.  I sewed the sunbrella edges around the frame so that the sides are a sleeve, and the bottom is a velcro attachment.  The bottom of the screen also detaches by velcro to allow for a larger opening.  On the top of the screen we did old-fashioned velcro along the sides.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

Another modification we are loving is the glass window on the forward hatch my Dad put together for us.  I never realized how dark the v-berth was until we had the extra light!

He started by tracing out where he was going to cut the hatch on an extra hatch we have from a parted boat.  This pattern will hopefully keep the hatch strong and not have weak points.  Using 1/4” smoked lexan glass he cut the window shape out.  The edges of the lexan were then sanded, building up in grit, to give a smooth rounded edge.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

He touched up the hatch and edges with a few coats of the white Perfection paint we had used on the topsides.  Using a heavy sealer he bolted the lexan to the hatch and we let is dry for a couple of days and then installed it onto the boat.


Albin Vega Velocir Modification

Inside the hatch we added a screen/blackout curtain magnetic thing we had seen on another boat and liked.  It’s really cool.  One side is a screen rolled up, the other is a black out curtain.  The magnet in the middle by the handles moves them back and forth.  They are absurdly expensive but after patiently waiting one came into Bacon Sails that was in our price range.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

Moving on to the galley, we made some major renovations here.

First, we wanted a stove with an oven, but given the original setup the bulkheads did not allow enough space for the typical oven to fit and allow for the oven door to open.  So, we moved the bulkhead forward.  We found a stainless oven insert about 21” wide to put the oven in.  Beneath the oven we installed a door that gives some great storage for pans.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

Behind the oven was a big chasm.  We thought a long time about how to use this space effectively and came up with this creation that we really like.  On the bottom is a shelf to divide the open space between the back and the bottom of the oven.  This makes sure anything stowed behind the oven does not travel down. On this shelf I’ve stored dried goods in plastic containers.  It is a nice secure place for them where they will not roll around very much.  The best part is on the top, where we have hinged a galleyware holder onto the bulkhead.  The stainless hinge to the left of the teak holder allows it to swing in and out, providing access to all the storage behind it.  We put a little cleat with a string on the other side to keep it in place.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

Next to the galley is the navigation panel.  Grant spent a lot of time thinking about this area and designing it.  It was very important for him to have a chart table and navigation area where we could look at our course and take down plots. (A plot is a mark on the chart with our position.)

On the after shelf of the dinette, Grant mounted the AIS receiver, handheld VHF chargers, SSB receiver, and computer with two 12 volt charge plugins.  They are held together on the shelf by a piece of starboard Grant heated and molded to the right shape.  Next to the computer is a Ryobi 12 volt charger for our Ryobi One items—a spotlight, hand vac and drill that run and charge off the same battery (would recommend).

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

In our dinette, we can sit and eat or do chart work.  The dinette area is approx. 60 inches from the main bulkhead back.  The shelves are approx. 19 1/2 inches (not including trim) and the table is 19 3/4 inches wide and 42” long.

Grant installed a white/red LED chart light above it.  The seats are a comfortable 16 inches wide, 16 inches tall and 23 inches long and have latched doors for more storage outboard as well as pull-out hatches under the cushions for storage.  I refurbished the table that was found at Bacon Sails. It originally had a door on the side that opened with a key.  Very charming but not easy access.  The bottom has wood slats across it that provides additional air ventilation.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

I added hinges to allow the table to open on one side, giving great access to charts and navigation tools.  A real chart table!

It is supported by the large wood dinette piece that is supported by the original lower outboard fiberglass tabbing, and is also bolted to the original upper fiberglass tabbing.  On the inboard end of the table we further supported it with a stainless steel bar that attaches to the lower fiberglass tabbing along the sole.

It is one of our best upgrades.  We use it all the time and like the higher storage it provides us with.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

Okay, only a few more to go.  Here are our propane tanks.  We like the small size and portability of these tanks.  The cylindrical shape fit really well on the stern, lifting them  up out of the way of the cleats.  Grant welded stainless steel tubing in a curve inside the top of the original stern rail.  This is keeping the tanks together, with a small piece of string acting as chafe gear in between them.  Then, on the bottom, to a stainless tubing support Grant welded two thinner metal holders and permanently attached them to the stern rail.

The hoses for the tanks are led to a hole in the outer cockpit combing, that is covered with a vent and led forward to the stove.  (The solar panel and antenna cords also come in here).

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

In the aft lazarette Grant molded starboard to create a holder for our liferaft.  This way it can easily be accessed by lifting open the doors and it slides out.  Nothing is around it to hinder its movement.  It is a Winslow in a valise  (we bought it used but I think the bag is a custom shape).

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

We also led some of our halyards and reef lines aft to the cockpit.  To make our opening in the splash guard near the cockpit we cut a chunk out and then did some touch-up paint.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

We added some solar vents that work really well, except for when it is overcast like today.

Albin Vega Velocir Modification

The head is our last project for this post.  It is still an area of concern (we are not sure if we a loving the head but plan to give it more time).  It is a special Vega version of the airhead we got secondhand.  It is chopped down and didn’t come with a liquids container or paddle (pee flap).  We have been able to resolve these issues even though airhead wanted the unit back and wouldn’t sell us parts.  We used a sun shower for the urine bottle and installed the fan and paddle pee flap ourselves.  It seems to be working okay.

To mount the head, Grant once again used starboard and molded it with a heat gun.  It is attached to a wooden shelf topped with formica.  We also made our fire extinguisher holder out of starboard.  It is a really fun material to play with!

Behind the head we had only the one upper shelf original to our boat.  We were able to get the four shelf unit (common on older Vegas) from the parted Vega.  I refinished it and added formica to the shelves.  It was a perfect fit, and we mounted it at an angle to A) keep things in and B) because it was the only way it lined up attractively with the shelf with the shelves touching the hull in the back.  Having this added storage space has made a huge difference and also added strength to the main bulkhead, which you can never have too much of.

Official Vega!

Back in early July we applied for Velocir to be an official USCG documented vessel.  It may make customs easier, I don’t have to pay a yearly fee to DNR, and most importantly I can scrape off the state registration numbers from the bow of the boat. I dislike them in an unreasonable fashion.

Well, apparently this process takes them MONTHS, because this week we finally got the document!! Yay, I am overly excited about this, maybe because I am proud such a small boat can be this legit.

With all the preparation work going on, I was able to steal a few hours to satisfy my desire for a carved wooden official numbers plaque.  Here’s how I made it.

In a word processing program, size the numbers in a font you like to be at least 3″ high.  Print them out, measure them to be sure.  Find a piece of wood that will be easy to carve (ours is the unused leg from our dinette table and a soft pine).  Tape the letters to the wood with simple packing tape.

Then, with a dremel carve the edges of the numbers to get the outline for each one.  This was a great guide for the router and gave me a cleaner edge.

Using a medium-sized router with a small wood attachment I ground out the numbers.  This was time-consuming and made my elbow hurt for a while, but gave clean edges and a nice depth.

Finally, some varnish and paint make it shine.  As you can clearly see, a huge mistake I made (compare this to first pic) is completely masked  (thanks to using a wide piece of wood and a grinder).   The only problem now is finding a place for it on the boat.

Albin Vega stern push solar panel mount

We have been busy finishing the projects we really want to get done before we leave, confidently planning to depart by the end of the month.

Our biggest project has been welding and assembling a stern arch to mount our solar panels on to.  Using an extra stern push from an Albin Vega that had been parted (selling parts and destroying the boat)  Grant first welded a horizontal support bar to the top which will support the solar panels forward.

Then, in order to have clearance for the Navik self-steering wind vane, Grant welded an additional 20 inches in stainless steel 1 inch tubing.  At the bottom of each leg, a receiver was shaped and welded to the bottom stern push with a pin bolted through.  This will allow for the top arch to be detached if needed.

Albin Vega stern push solar panel mount by Velocir

The arch for the solar panels was then attached onto the Vega.  We also took the opportunity to weld on our outboard bracket and horseshoe ring holders.

Albin Vega stern push solar panel mount by Velocir

This morning we drilled holes in the tubing at four points and bolted on our solar panels.  In the overcast weather today, we were able to see that they were each producing 18 volts.

Albin Vega stern push solar panel mount by Velocir

Another project we completed this week was sound proofing the engine room.  We get A LOT of noise in the cabin when the engine is running and this reduced it quite a bit.  First, I made patterns out of brown paper.  Then, I cut out the shapes and used foil tape around the edges.  To attach, we used screws with washers.

Albin Vega stern push solar panel mount by Velocir

Other ongoing projects are sewing covers, varnishing trim pieces, getting our EPIRB ready, installing electronics, provisioning, and so many other projects!

Making a Dodger Frame for V

To keep out the rain and sun, Grant has built us a dodger out of stainless steel and starboard!  (I still have to sew together the isinglass and sunbrella sides)

Making Dodger Frame by Velocir

After looking online at different designs, we decided we liked the rounded look with side visibility, a hard top and soft isinglass sides.  This way it will be strong.  We could stand on it if needed.  The starboard top will not need to be replaced in a few years like a full fabric dodger.  We found inexpensive isinglass in new condition that was consigned at Bacon Sails that I will recut and sew onto the frame.

Making Dodger Frame by Velocir

For the frame, Grant welded together stainless steel tubing using scraps from other biminis we found. He used two rounded sections he bent a curve into, and the cross beams about every foot.  For the starboard top, he welded tabs for it to secure to using bolts.  On each side, he welded outer handles, and then welded threads into them, so that they would also secure the starboard on a tab.  To fasten it to the boat, he also welded tabs.

Making Dodger Frame by Velocir

For the top, we cut a big section of starboard into the right dimensions and bolted it to the frame on the tabs.  On the lower part below the handles we used U bolts.

Making Dodger Frame by Velocir

As a project, Grant spent three days measuring and constructing the frame.  It took one day to attach the starboard and attach it to the boat.  We measured the distance from the cabin to the boom MANY times, and even had our new sails cut specifically to make the boom higher when we were sailing so that we could stand in the cockpit and have room for a higher dodger.  It is about 16.5 inches high from the cabin top to the top of the dodger.

We really love it!

How to make an electronics panel


Make Electronics Panel by Velocir

Measuring and fitting the electronics onto our smoked lexan.

Make Electronics Panel by Velocir

Cutting out the holes:

Make Electronics Panel by Velocir

Success! It looks good, space for the future and it all works.

Make Electronics Panel by Velocir

The Captains Howerton

Welcome Aboard!  We are the Captains Howerton, recently wed and about to start our adventurous voyage throughout the world in our Albin Vega named Velocir.

In preparation for our trip, we decided to spend the weekend on Wye Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

We looked over our charts and consulted a cruising guide to get some good recommendations on anchorages.  Because the wind was NW we decided to anchor on the west side of the island to get a good breeze and keep away from bugs.

The sail up was slow in the low winds, and Velocir struggled to maintain boat speed with a lot of the larger power boat wakes.  We were quickly reminded how inconsiderate and unsafe other boaters can be, treating sailboats like obstacles in a race course.

As the wind died, we started the engine to make it in time for dinner.  We tucked into an unnamed cove where we were surrounded by marshes, birds and a light breeze that had picked up as we anchored.

In 7 ft of water, we forgot our color coordinated paint system for anchor chain and let out 75 ft…we weren’t going anywhere!

Grant jumped in the water for a quick swim and scrubbed our new waterline clean.

For dinner, we made our favorite Cream of Crab Soup recipe:


5 tbsp. flour

1 packet hollandaise mix

4 c. half and half

Lots of Old Bay

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. celery seed

1 c. whipping cream

2 small cans crab meat

Directions: Add all, stirring constantly!  Serve in bread bowls.

It was delicious, and a favorite of Grants.  He found the recipe himself and now we make it all the time.  When cruising, we still plan to keep it in our collection of boat recipes, but without refrigeration we will have to make it the first night we buy the perishable ingredients.

After dinner, we were treated to a lovely sunset as we played cards and dominoes on the foredeck.

Wye Island Sunset by Velocir

Then…Grant ate the sun and the evening ended.

Grant Eating Sun by Velocir

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June 2019
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